These AREN'T mosquitoes: Why these giant insects thrive in fall

Calling these bugs "mosquitoes" is a common mistake, experts say.

No, they're not mosquitoes. What you're seeing are called crane flies.

But don't feel bad if you've been calling them mosquitoes. It's a common mistake, according to Andalyne Tofflemire, manager and naturalist at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory.

Here's something to keep in mind:

They're not bloodsuckers, Tofflemire says.

Crane flies can be seen year-round because there are more than 50,000 different North American crane fly species. Some prefer the summer months, while others thrive in the early spring.

Their main purpose, according to Tofflemire, is to be part of the food chain.

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"They're an important food source for small mammals, fish, and birds ... both as larvae and as adults."

So the next time you see one, don't fret.

It's just hanging out.

Header image courtesy of Getty Images.